Kaleido-Front Porch Music Series

During the Kaleido Family Arts Festival, one of the features was the front porch music series. Literally, around the neighbourhood, musicians gave concerts off the front porch at eight different locations. I wasn’t aware of this at first, as my friend and I having just parked the car, were invited into a  yard to listen.

Playing four blocks away from 118th Avenue were The  Raven and the Fox, Singer-songwriter Julie Chang and Sean Issac from Canmore, Alberta. They will be back in Edmonton to play at the Needle Vinyl Cafe on November 6th. Just outside the gate were t-shirts and CD’s for sale. We sat down on lawn chairs in the yard and listened to this trio, enjoying the voice and instruments. They have their own songs in a flok genre and did covers from Nirvana as well.Having no money, I told them that I would give them a mention in my blog.I love the idea of this series and will definitely take more time to hear these small intimate concerts next year-a great idea! Here is a photo of Raven and a Fox, you can check them out on Facebook and see a live video of them at this series as well as a list of concert dates.

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Kaleido Family Arts Festival-Lantern Parade

Kaleido Family Arts  Festival-Lantern Parade

Kaleido is a fall festival for the family held in September on 118 Avenue in Edmonton, Alberta.It is twelve years old now, a vision of artistic director and founder, Christy Morin.Kaleido has grown and changed a “pretty bad” neighbourhood from  crime-infested  to a popular community that is family-centred and attracts people from all over the city to the bakeries, coffee shops and other businesses, including Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts. During the festival that is all weekend long, the main avenue is closed for a few blocks and there are arts of every kind celebrated along the street as well as in the alleys, some buildings, outdoor stages and even front porch concerts on nearby streets which I will feature in future blogs.

On Friday night there is a lantern parade where many of the artists and public join in for a parade around the blocks , ending at the central outdoor stage, where this year internationally acclaimed Eric Bibb and Michael Jerome Brown played. Yes!

These are photos of the lantern parade, where I took a definite interest in those lighted hula hoops and the resulting light trails.The mood was infectious, as were the beats of the drums from various cultures. There is something for everyone here.

A little salsa, anyone?IMG_0108-2

National Stilt Walkers from AlbertaIMG_0210-2

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Lights trails from two hoopsIMG_0144-2

Some of the Artists dispersed throughout the festival site coming together for the parade.IMG_0172-2

National Stilt WalkersIMG_0198-2

One of a few large puppets from the National  Stilt Walkers IMG_0203-2

This caped person nearly flew by on his adapted legs.IMG_0217-2

Eric Bibb and Michael Jerome Brown at Center Stage on Friday nightIMG_0231-2

Elk Island National Park

Elk Island National Park

This is one of my favourite respites close to the city of Edmonton where I can hit the variety of trails, be close to water, photograph various bugs, birds and mammals and have great conversations with my friends as we explore together and shed the stress of the work week, stopping for snacks. I told my friend Frank, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” meaning “it is perfect as it is.” As soon as we arrive at the front entrance to this National park, I feel like I am at home. I have been coming for three decades and seen many changes in that time.Likes have dried up and been replaced by saplings and shrubs, bird populations have change, reeds have choked up bays but been cleaned out to let the water lay undisturbed, allowing the ducks and grebes some nesting and swimming space. It was very quiet today as this is a mid-week visit. Everything is calm and the temperature soars to a “hot-ish” degree in the high twenties.(celsius)

This year there is no entrance fee and there has been a lot of paving which makes it easier for all to access, the benefits of Canada’s 150th birthday.

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We even did the “touristy” thing, taking photos of each other at the frames.IMG_0188-3

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There are pairs of red chairs in all the National parks across Canada.IMG_0199-2

Played with images of bees and butterflies.IMG_0207-2

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This is the trail that goes around the bay at Astotin Lake.IMG_0271-2

A family of  CootsIMG_0274-2

The shapes and lines in natureIMG_0285-2

I saw a man photographing something, and I thought it was a duck. I took a shot, not seeing what it was. I realize now that it was a Sora! Bloody illusive birds, they are!

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One bison bull that we saw, a quick shot as he was twitching his tail so we moved on.IMG_0292-2

All in all, a wonderful day, nurtured by Mother Nature. I hope that I have a deep respect for the earth and its inhabitants. All My Relations!

 

Checking Out the Neighbourhood

Checking Out the Neighbourhood

I have been enjoying my stack of summer books and neglecting the outdoors, which is odd for a photographer who has such a love for nature.The invite within spurred me out of my apathy to see what would catch my eye in the neighbourhood. It was the little things that caught my eye, such as the blooms that are looking splendid, as well as the ones that have died but leave a pleasant texture.

I think these are Hare’s Bells, growing in a neighbour’s  garden beside the fence.IMG_0070-3

I loved the texture in this one.IMG_0082-2

Things are beginning to change but not to the point where everything is dried up. IMG_0084-2

Got to the bank above the river and added more vibrance and contrast. It was very hazy due to smoke from forest fires in BC.IMG_0092-2

Here is how the atmospheric  perspective really looks like.IMG_0094-2

The wild rose bushes are one of the first to show their fall colours.IMG_0099-2

Seems a little worse for wear but great insect trail and texture.IMG_0105-2

This apple tree is still in summer bloom, one of the main features in the dog park that all like to visit.IMG_0111-2

I don’t know what these are but like the shape of the leaves and blossoms.IMG_0118-2

This lily makes her own statement.IMG_0125-2

Back home, I like the light on the leaves and fence.IMG_0131-3

It was fun meandering through the neighbourhood with no time constraints and a reminder there is a whole world to explore just outside my door. In my next post I will share my photos from a trip to one of my favourite places just outside of Emonton. I am aware of the hardships that others are going through due to catastrophic weather conditions or threats by leaders of different countries. This has  made me very grateful for what I have in this moment.

Partial, but Fun and Awe-inspiring

Partial, but Fun and Awe-inspiring

The Solar Eclipse was an event that brought thousands of people together all across the lands, all races, and in a peaceful way. I was impressed by the cheers of the people on TV  in America as the Solar Eclipse reached totality and the day turned into night.That did not happen here but it was still awe-inspiring as we witnessed up to approximately 70% of the eclipse.

Here in Edmonton I heard that telescopes would be set up at the Telus World of Science Centre, so that is where I  headed.The parking lots were full and it took some time to just move through the congestion so I started to focus on just getting out of there. Someone left and suddenly there was an open spot to my right. I took it. Not having any glasses or camera filters, I thought it would be fun to take pictures of the crowds lined-up to the observatory and the people resting on the lawn with their glasses, squares of welders glass, or even pin-hole cameras made out of cardboard.

As luck would have it, in front of the observatory there were people on the lawn who were volunteers from the Royal Astronomical Society, with various telescopes for the public to look through, so I got in a much shorter line and looked through a telescope provided by a volunteer. I thought this was fantastic! I could see a very enlarged view of the sun with the sun spots and a darker area where the moon was passing over it.One of the volunteers gave me a free pair of glasses that afforded me my own personal view. It still made me nervous so I took many short looks at the image of the moon moving across the sun.

I ran into a friend, David, who took my photo a few times and I reciprocated.

Following are photos from the day. I am so glad that I came to this event and celebrated the solar eclipse with thousands of others.

The telescopes set up in the observatory, open to the publicIMG_0026

me looking at the eclipse with my funky glassesIMG_0064

my friend David enjoying the viewIMG_0068-2

Volunteers on the lawn with various telescopes. That’s the one I looked throughIMG_0054

The line-up to the Observatory which is on the left.IMG_0051-2

The line-up went all the way around the blockIMG_0041-2

The Telus Science CentreIMG_0056

 

Three Women and the Truth

Three Women and the Truth

I wanted to post photos from this session with Mary Gauthier, Lynn Miles and Eliza Gilkyson. I was glad that I made it here after finishing a shift in the Festival Kitchen, and playing with a baby named Malcolm before seating myself directly in front of the stage because Mary and Eliza were leaving the next day. Lynn’s songs about men who are pirates had me both laughing and wincing at some of my past “magnificent obsessions.” There was a bit of bantering between the three and individual songs from each woman. I enjoyed the chance to hear them in one location at one time. Near the end, Mary sang her song “Mercy” which fulfilled everything for me.

Mary GauthierIMG_0241-2

Lynn MilesIMG_0210-2

Eliza GilkysonIMG_0214-2

Edmonton Folk Music Festival 2017

Edmonton Folk Music Festival 2017

I have volunteered at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival for about 15 years, albeit not all years in a row. There were times that I could not get off work or I got a job working in the country at the last minute so I missed those years.

It has been fun although the last couple of years I have slowed down and feel more aches and pains. I do not go to the volunteer parties any more because imagine this, I need to sleep! I do like the main stage shows but my favourites are the sessions at the smaller stages, where often a few musicians will jam and those magical moments happen. One of the memorable sessions was at Stage 3, ” Northern Exposure” with The Jerry Cans, Dylan Menzie, Altameda and Colleen Brown. The magic for me happened when Dylan Menzie from PEI sang a lovely tribute to his Aunt’s memory and one of the  singers from The Jerry Cans accompanied him with throat singing. I found that emotionally powerful. The ironic part was that I left my camera home so have no photo but perhaps that allowed me to be totally in the moment without any distractions. I enjoyed the rhythm and vocals of two locals, Colleen Brown and Altameda, both of whom I hope to hear again  here in the city.

       Tim Williams, Tony D of MonkeyJunk, Kit Johnson and Steve DawsonIMG_0169-2

I did get photos of another favourite session (lots of favourites) where various players of the blues genre joined together in having a good time. Amos Garrett and the House Band, Cecile Doo-Kingue, MonkeyJunk with Paul Reddick, Steve Dawson and Tim Williams.

Paul Reddick, Rusty Reed, Steve Marriner of MonkeyJunkIMG_0176-2

Cecile Doo-KingueIMG_0154-2

Another enjoyable session took place at Stage 3 on Saturday entitled ” Ancient Cultures.” Artists included Mohsin Zaman, Huun Huur Tu, Logan Alexis Singers and William Prince. Huun Huur Tu did a variety of Mongolian throat singing which was mesmerizing and we were treated to pow wow style dancing that accompanied great vocals and drumming of the Logan Alexis Singers. William Prince, an indigenous man from Manitoba sang some  thoughtful pieces with a pleasing  voice and told some good stories as well. Mohsin Zaman , who is originally from Pakistan and now lives in Alberta in a residency program where he is really “giving  back” as a mentor to students, sang haunting melodies and introduced some deep throat tones that sounded great.

Mohsin ZamanIMG_0103-2

Some of the Logan Alexis Singers and DancersIMG_0059-2

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I have been a fan of Amadou and Mariam, from Mali, West Africa for a few years now, having first heard them at this festival.My aches and pains were forgotten as the infecious West African rhythms  spurred me on to dance beside the main stage at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

IMG_0269-2IMG_0270-2I enjoyed the festival and  my co-workers on the Beverage Crew. We were busy serving drinks on those hot days and all that counter wiping kept things clean and the wasps at bay. When I wasn’t taking photos memories in the mind were being made. Brandi Carlisle is one of those memories that always reminds me of the fact that her voice is amazing and the band works together so beautifully. Always a pleasure to hear and see her in concert.

The only unpleasant memory was the wind on Thursday evening. It swept up the hill and carried many items away as people scrambled to grab their gear. The worst was seeing one of the giant video screens come loose but not detached , and seeing it flopping upside down back to front and side to side. Staff and volunteers ran to secure it and prevent further damage. Shortly after, the grounds were evacuated. Good call , I say, as patron safety is of utmost importance and it was possible that worse storm cells in the area were going to hit. We missed Shakey Graves and The Decemberists but they have been invited back next year.

The next morning a few of us on shift chipped in and helped do dishes in the Festival Kitchen that were abandoned when the evacuation order was announced. That is part of the spirit of this festival, the hard-working, friendly volunteers who help keep this festival going. Bravo! That is a big reason why I keep going back, it is like a family reunion. Volunteering has its perks, with a free pass to the festival, t-shirt and  delicious food-the best I eat all year.  That, and definitely not least, the love of the music!